The EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child and the European Child Guarantee-Evidence-Based Recommendations for Alternative Care

Children (Basel). 2021 Dec 14;8(12):1181. doi: 10.3390/children8121181.


Protection and promotion of child rights are referred to as a central purpose of the European Union (EU). Therefore in 2021, the EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child and the European Child Guarantee were published to enable children to have the best possible life in the EU and worldwide. Member states were invited to implement the directions of both documents into practice. The present study analyses and showcases the evidence on how to progress implementation of the Strategy and the Guarantee regarding alternative care in Portugal. A literature review was conducted based on international literature. Evidence-based recommendations for the Portuguese transition process towards quality, family and community-based care are stated. De-institutionalisation and strengthening specific services-kinship care, special guardianship, and foster care-are advocated, namely specialising the workforce, and promoting training for kinship carers and prospective special guardians. To conclude, the revision and monitoring of the measures for children in need of alternative care are suggested as well as integrating and publishing data from the diverse services of the alternative care system.

Keywords: EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child; European Child Guarantee; Portugal; alternative care; child protection system; de-institutionalisation; foster care; kinship care; special guardianship.